So this popped up on my Netflix feed the other day. It gave a lot of Kung Fury vibes, with a surreal take on the 80s. GoJ is that, but quite a bit more. It tries to answer the question, “what if Superman was depressed?” Or perhaps, what if superhero flaws were human?
Adi Shankar is a very particular individual. He takes mainstream ideas, and then strains them through all the tropes he can muster, turning the subject inside out.
Guardians of Justice is such an endeavour. The plot itself is a unhealthy take on the superhero genre, with an in-your-face approach to get the message across. Alan Moore runs on multiple complex levels, but the goal is deconstruction (and The Watchmen technically only has 1 superhero, everyone else is human with a fetish). There’s no subtlety here, and the mix of genres (live action, anime, CGI) help to keep it interesting. There’s something to be said about a boss battle being more like a video game than just a mush of blurry CGI.
As much as I enjoyed the 80s comic book and (heavy) social filter, the more enjoyable part was how every character has some rather massive flaws that are not plot bound but based on the character. It makes for a dark take on the “good vs bad” of the MCU, and honestly highlights the rather major flaws in that recipe. There are no giant plotholes here, no hand waving, no McGuffin to chase.
I can’t say the series is for everyone, it is not at all a pick-me-up type of story. It starts off on an incredibly dark take and just dives deeper as the story goes on. Heck, by the end you’ll wonder if there ever was a “good guy” in the entire story. Still, I’m glad that the series came out. It takes some interesting risks, and for the most part, they pay off. Well worth a binge.
I found the first episode close to unwatchable on a technical level. The set-up was interesting enough but it was hard to take it seriously with everything looking like a twelve-year-old’s school project. I left it in my watchlist because I could see there was something there but whatever it is, it’s buried so deeply in chaotic self-indulgence I don’t think I have the willpower or the patience to dig it out.
Chaotic is the right word.